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Anna Vagner

James Tarangelo

Global - 10 Term - 2

April 15, 2009

Animal Farm & the Russian Revolution

An allegory is a form of an extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and

actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself.

Many authors attempt to depict historical events by using animals, objects and people that

would be more familiar to us, as readers. “Animal Farm”, by George Orwell, is a divine

example of a true allegory in which Orwell uses animals to show the events that occurred

during the Russian Revolution.

Many aspects of Animal Farm prove it to be an allegorical way to express the

events of the Russian Revolution. George Orwell’s choice of character representation was

one of the most obvious connections to the revolution. Joseph Stalin, the dictator of

communist Russia, was depicted by Napoleon, a mean and selfish pig (literally). Both

Stalin and Napoleon were inadequate speakers and often had someone else make their

speeches for them; Stalin used the government, and Napoleon used Squealer. These

characters can equally be considered to be liars and manipulators of the government.

After Stalin came to power, communism, which was originally a great idea that was

created by Karl Marx, became an impossible government in which Stalin used everything

only to benefit himself. Stalin created the KGB, which was represented by the dogs in

Animal Farm, and used this “secret police” to detect anyone who didn’t have the same

beliefs as he did. Stalin forced innocent people to admit to being “traitors” and began a
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killing streak of anyone who went against him, which by the end of the revolution turned

out to be over 20 million people. In the same way, Napoleon turned the original idea of

“animalism”, which was created by Old Major, and turned it into a horrible way of life

for the animals. Napoleon constantly lied about the rations of food the animals were

getting and was brainwashing the animals into thinking they actually have a better life

than they did before. He also started to murder the animals and force them into confess to

crimes that they didn’t commit. By showing this, Orwell accurately shows Stalin’s true

ambitions – gaining power.

Besides the characters, the main idea of Animal Farm also had a very strong

resemblance to the Russian Revolution. The original ideas of Animalism and

Communism were very close. Animalism was supposed to give all animals equality, as

was communism for the people of Russia. Though both ideas were good on paper, the

leaders that were supposed to make them work chose different paths. Instead of making

everyone equal like communism/animalism stated that they should be, Stalin and

Napoleon rose to power and formed totalitarian governments which resulted in the

separation of rich from poor. Animalism and Communism in them selves were supposed

to unite the people of the land, but instead, it separated and confused them even more.

The KGB played a very large role in the destruction of true communism and

Stalin’s rise to power. These secret police were completely loyal to Stalin and his plans of

becoming the ultimate leader. The KGB killed with no emotion and stole the lives of

millions of people. Like the KGB, the dogs in Animal Farm were complete supporters of

Napoleon. They were a part of his “army” which never hesitated to kill someone that’s

not walking along Napoleons side. Both the KGB and the dogs controlled the people of
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the land through fear. Everyone knew that they had to play by their dictators’ rules

1000% of the time because their lives were at danger with every move. The brutal

attacks, even on innocent people, are what made the revolution such a disastrous time in

history.

When people talk about the Russian Revolution, the main topics usually include

Stalin, communism and the KGB, but everyone forgets about the majority of Russia. The

Russian population was made up of three types of people – the selfish people, the

brainwashed people, and the skeptical people. All three played major roles in the turnout

of the revolution. As the brainwashed communist supporters continued to worship Stalin

and give Stalin confidence and power, the skeptical people were being killed off for not

supporting communism. This caused the revolution to end with millions of casualties.

The horse Boxer in Animal Farm represents the naïve and unintelligent

population of Russia. Boxer was a strong believer in Animalism and gave 110% at

everything he did. He completely believed in the revolution and worked himself to the

bone because he thought that he could help the revolution evolve. This obviously was not

the case because as Boxer continued to progress in the amount of effort he put in,

conditions on Animal Farm kept worsening. In the same way, the true supporters of

communism in Russia were in denial that Stalin was murdering his own people. These

people worked on their farms day in and day out, while Stalin kept taking more and more

of their crops. As Stalin’s promises for a better life kept expanding, these already

brainwashed people continued to believe him and disregarded the fact that they were

living in poverty and unfairness. The communist party took everything they had while

feeding these poor people lies and false promises that the life they are living now is
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better then how they were living a couple of years ago. These people were naïve and

unwise because they couldn’t see the true picture of what was occurring in their country.

Though lots of people were oblivious to what was really going on, many Russians

were skeptical and didn’t think that the Revolution was doing anything to benefit them.

These people (the “Benjamin’s” of Russia), realized that true communism could not be

achieved when Stalin held so much power. True communist beliefs were that everyone is

completely equal, and the fact that Stalin was on top of the social pyramid made no sense

to them. In the same way that these people believed that the revolution was not to help

them in any way, Benjamin believed that Animalism was not real. Though the ideas of

both communism and animalism were good, both Benjamin and these people knew that

their lives were not only not improving, but they were worsening by the day.

Among the believers and the non-believers there were people who didn’t really

care. These people were selfish and wanted nothing to do with these new rules and

regulations of how they were supposed to lead their lives, so they fled to different

countries. Mollie, in Animal Farm, loved her pretty ribbons and sugar. This shows that

the rich did not want to give up their luxuries to be equal with the rest of the country.

Instead these people moved to different countries just like Mollie escaped to a different

farm.

As the novella progresses, Animalism proves to be a huge failure just like

communism. George Orwell was able to perfectly depict the overall message of how

ridiculous the Russian Revolution was through metaphors and analogies. Animal Farm’s

correlation with the actual Revolution is very much truthful and shows the lives of

everyone that was affected very well.


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Bibliography

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Chicago: 1st World Library, 2004.

"The Revolution of 1917." WNEC FACULTY/STAFF HOME PAGES.

<http://mars.wnec.edu~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/rev1917.html>.

"Russian Revolution of 1917, series of events in imperial Russia that culminated in 1917

with the establishment of the Soviet state that became known as the Union of

Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)." Emayzine 2001.

<http://www.emayzine.com/lectures/russianrev.html>.